Oct

21

 A corollary to understanding the spaces and times between events is the art of doing nothing.

In survival situations, when uncertain or becoming lost, its is good to do nothing. Get reoriented. Resting in the wilderness is a good skill. In Deep Survival by Gonzales, he describes many deaths by running around in circles until injury, hypothermia or exhaustion kills the hapless adventurer.

In markets one of the hardest lessons I've learned is how to and when to do nothing. When waiting for a good situation, don't throw on a couple trades to pass the time, make a few bucks, wait. Don't do stupid little day trades. Do nothing. When finally in a good position in size, don't start selling to early. Wait, do nothing. Clews called it "resting on your oars". Wait for your expectation period, or the end of the day, or your target, or your overplus. Don't trade because you think its work, from boredom or from fear. Sometimes don't even watch, because that might cause inappropriate action. I remember years ago in Australia, Larry Williams telling me that he didn't even watch during the day. I was astounded at the time. Its taken me about 20 years to figure it out.

Jeff Rollert writes: 

I. Could. Not. Agree. With. This. More.

It is a sign of maturity in a trader. 

anonymous writes:

In the markets, and in life itself in a broader sense.

In the Johnson era (Lyndon), at the largest Catholic school in the city ("The Zoo") we would be forced to march, single file, at lunch each Friday, to the adjoining church 100 yards or so from the school.

Antagonizingly, but appropriately, whistling the tune to "The Bride Over the River Kwai."

Entering the church, in it's large vestibule, often still taken aback by the heavy smell of incense from a morning funeral, a janitors closet off to our right. We would fall out of line, half a dozen of us, one-by-one, into the closet in a blink as we marched by it, down a little metal ladder to a tunnel that ran under the street and came up in a student union lounge at a Jesuit University across the street where we would emerge, liberated from mass and the ennui of Friday afternoon class.

One of our half-dozen or so escapes was it kid named Oswald, which was a bad name to have in the sixties. He lived with his seemingly hapless mother, and, well, rumor had it that…well, you know.
"Was that really his father?"

Anyhow, Oswald was a kid with a big, curly, head of hair that had a giant grey streak in it at 10 years old. He was an astonishingly good chess player, always studying the game. No one could last half a dozen moves against him. As odd as he was, I found him to be very insightful and enjoyed his company.

A revelation to me one day in hat student union lounge, a moment that would last with me for the rest of my life, was conveying to Oswald that: "the problem with just sitting in this student union lounge over here was that I feel like I'm not getting anything done today."

Oswald shot back: "are you crazy? Nothing bad can happen when you're here. Most days, the best thing to do is nothing."

It was a moment I have never forgotten, and most regrets anyone has in life are from pro-active episodes, not from sitting still. It pertains further to the markets, and, in a very pure way to money management especially with regard to maximizing certain performance measures. But that is another discussion for another day.


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